Forte di Belvedere

sights / Military

Forte di Belvedere information

Florence , Italy
Via di San Leonardo 1
+390 55 290832
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Forte di Belvedere is a rambling fort designed by Bernardo Buontalenti for Grand Duke Ferdinando I at the end of the 16th century. From the massive bulwark soldiers kept watch on four fronts – as much for internal security to protect the Palazzo Pitti as against foreign attack. After five lengthy years of renovation works, the imposing fortress is once again open to visitors: it hosts fabulous contemporary art exhibitions and the sweeping panorama from its walls is among the city’s most breathtaking.

To get here from Piazza de' Mozzi, turn east down Via dei Renai, past leafy Piazza Nicola Demidoff, dedicated to the 19th-century Russian philanthropist who lived nearby in Via San Niccolò. At the end of Via dei Renai, 16th-century Palazzo Serristori was home to Joseph Bonaparte in the last years of his life until his death in 1844; a humble end to the man who, at the height of his career, had been appointed king of Spain by his brother Napoleon. Turn right and you end up on Via San Niccolò; walk east along this street to emerge at the tower marking Porta San Niccolò , all that is left of the city walls. To get an idea of what the walls were once like, walk south from Chiesa di San Niccolò Oltrarno through Porta San Miniato . The wall extends a short way to the east and for a stretch further west, up a steep hill that leads you to the fortress.